Minimum pricing on alcohol comes into effect
The introduction of minimum pricing on alcohol in Ireland came into force today.
The new law will largely affect alcohol sold in off-licences, shops, and supermarkets.
A broad breakdown of the new measures shows a standard bottle of wine cannot be sold for less than €7.40 and a can of beer for less than €1.70.
Spirits like gin or vodka with 40% alcohol content cannot be sold for less than €20.70 and a 700ml bottle of whiskey for less than €22.
The new law is expected to lead to an upsurge of cross-border sales at off-licences and supermarkets in Northern Ireland.
The Stormont Executive has been urged to introduce similar legislation, but work on a public consultation on the issue has not been completed.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan have welcomed the move.
In a statement, they said Ireland is now one of only a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing.
Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018, followed by Wales in 2020.
Other countries and territories that already have a legal minimum price include the Russian Federation and regions in Australia and Canada.
A minimum unit price of 10c per gram of alcohol is provided for in Section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.
Minimum unit pricing will set a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportionate to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink, the statement added.
Minister Donnelly said: “This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions. It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here,” he added.
Minister Feighan said: “We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money’ prices and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake.
“I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it the most.”